Iowa State football and the NFL draft aren’t typically associated with each other.
It’s been 45 years since a Cyclones player has heard his name called in the first round of the NFL draft — way back in 1973 when running back George Amundson was taken by Houston with the 14th pick. To put things in perspective, the Big 12 Conference was more than 20 years from formation at that point.
That narrative could be changing after an 8-5 season in 2017 — the Cyclones’ best campaign in recent memory. And it might start with wide receiver Allen Lazard.
At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Lazard established himself as one of the Big 12’s most physical and durable receivers last season. He piled up 941 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches as a senior en route to career total of 3,360 receiving yards — the most by any player in school history.
Lazard has the makings of an NFL wide receiver and could be a sleeper to hear his name called early when the football world comes together in Arlington, Texas, in two weeks.
SB Nation’s Christian D’Andrea wrote that while Lazard is likely to be a Day 3 pick at the 2018 NFL Draft, a Day 1 selection shouldn’t be ruled out by the Iowa State faithful. Even if that’s not the case, Lazard would become the first Iowa State receiver drafted in more than three decades.
“While [Lazard] may have been a big fish in a small pond in Ames, he frequently tested himself against NFL-caliber defenses in four years of Big 12 play. He responded with nine 100-yard games against Power 5 opponents and arguably the best performance of his career in the only bowl game in which he had the chance to play … His résumé is strong, but his true selling point is his size that’s led to 17 receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons. If pro teams buy in on his red zone prowess, he won’t just be the first Iowa State wideout drafted in more than 30 years — he might be one of the best Cyclones to ever play in the NFL.”
If there’s any single play that can be used as selling point for Lazard, it’s this spectacular touchdown catch vs. Oklahoma State last November.
Lazard hauls in brilliant TD vs. Oklahoma State
Absurd catch by Allen Lazard of Iowa State pic.twitter.com/HcZ9XbQQ6j
— Jared Tokarz (@NFLDraftInsider) November 11, 2017
Lazard also was responsible for the game-winning touchdown catch in Iowa State’s stunning road upset of Oklahoma last October — a game that put the Cyclones on the map. A second top-5 win over TCU later that month only reaffirmed Iowa State as a legitimate force in the Big 12.
Lazard helps Cyclones seal upset over Sooners
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) October 7, 2017
It’s now a waiting game for Lazard. The 2018 NFL Draft takes place April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys. It will be the first time the event will be held at an NFL stadium. Texas tackle Connor Williams is set to be the only Big 12 draft prospect in attendance at the draft.